Great opportunity for India, US to work together: Chidambaram

Washington, July 12: Making a passionate plea to the US and Indian businesses to work together for a prosperous society, Finance Minister P Chidambaram asked businesses of both the countries not to bring their business on the political table.

Delivering the key note address at the 38th annual Leadership Summit of the US India Business Council (USIBC), Chidambaram said Washington on Thursday that India, facing the challenge of elevating its large population from poverty, is building its economy brick by brick.

The Finance Minister said as a result of India's economic reforms, a number of Indian companies have grown in size and stature and at times tend to compete with the US companies. This has resulted in competition between Indian and US businesses, he said.

Noting that business competition is the foundation of a free market and free economy, Chidambaram said business rivalries should not be brought to the political table.

"I therefore appeal to you there is great opportunity to wok together for the two countries," he said in his speech.

"We are a country where we are building our economy brick by brick, and in that process we seek your help," Chidambaram said in front of an audience that included executives, officials and lawmakers of both India and the US.

"We have a very young population which is hungry and aspirational. We have a talent pool which is largely untapped," he said, adding, that there is need for the two countries to work together.

"We can do much better, if we work together. I sincerely hope that our meeting today and tomorrow and in the future would give us more and more opportunities to build prosperous society," Chidambaram said.

Chidambaram is in Washington for the past three days, during which he has met top American executives, lawmakers and officials.

Raising India's concern over the Comprehensive Immigration Reform passed by the US Senate, Chidambaram said there needs to be an effort to disentangle it.

"I have spoken to officials, Senators and Congressmen (on our concerns on immigration bill). They understated that," he said.

Chidambaram strongly defended India's policy on intellectual property, including compulsory license. India, he said, is the largest country in the world that faces the challenge of eliminating poverty.

"We will do it. We have demonstrated our capacity to do it. Even after financial crisis, India's growth has been impressive," he said, adding that India paid the price in terms of high fiscal deficit, high inflation and high current account deficit.

"We would overcome them working with you. My appeal to you, my business friend in India and US, we have a common goal and great opportunity in eliminating this poverty," said Chidambaram.

Chidambaram is scheduled to meet US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew today, after which he will fly back to India.

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